Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's Up Wednesday...

Hi Girls-

OK, so yes I know I lied on Monday when I said to come back yesterday for another blog post.  As you can see that didn't happen...so onward and upward, at least I did one for the day.

I'm linking up with Shay, Mel and Sheaffer for What's Up Wednesday.

It's been forever since I've written one of these so I'm pretty excited about it.  The last Wednesday of every month these gals host this link up where fellow bloggers answer these questions.
So here we go, this is what's up with me today.
 
WHAT I'M EATING THIS WEEK:
A lot of bridal shower leftover foods.  And Boars Head Honey Maple Turkey which is a staple in my high protein diet.  But I am in the mood for soup and chili and all things that make Fall warm and cozy.  I'm also pretty excited to have gotten Shay's new cookbook and just placed my Harris Teeter online order so that I could get started on Andrea's Pulled Pork recipe (page 128 if you are curious).  I'll be eating it with broccoli slaw dressed in Ken's Steak House Light sweet Vidalia Onion dressing (since I can't eat it with bread).  I'll let y'all know how it is but I have yet to make a bad recipe from any of Shay's books.
This was me last night before I settled in---this book and 'This is Us'.  Y'all I can't even with this show! 
WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT:
Being back at the beach.  The beach is my happy place.  I love just sitting in a chair without any thoughts just watching the ocean and the waves breaking.  It is so serene and I love the sounds and the smells and everything associated with it.
This was over Labor Day weekend!  And these are my girls!

 
WHAT I'M LOVING:
Zoe's Chicken Salad!  OK, so I probably should have put this in my 'What I'm Eating' section but seriously Zoe's---you have my heart!  There are many days that I go just to get a side of their super delicious chicken salad or if I'm feeling hungry a half pint and just a fork.  As you can tell from this picture, this was me in the car picking up a tray for my bridal shower this past Sunday and I got a little extra just to eat on the way home. 
 
WHAT I'VE BEEN UP TO:
Pinning lots of Fall soup/stew recipes (jennifermo if you don't already follow me).  Scouring all my cookbooks (I'm a cookbook collector...ahem hoarder) for Fall recipes.  Pretty much anything Fall related, I'm interested in it right now.

WHAT I'M DREADING:
The two back to back conference calls I have today.  Thank God I work from home. 

WHAT I'M WORKING ON:
My right hook! This has to be one of my most favorite pictures of myself currently.  I work out with a trainer 3 days a weeks and Monday is always tough for me--always!  And I needed to take out a little frustration on Monday and thankfully my trainer recognized that and set up BOB to help me out. 
 
WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT:
The wedding of this beauty right here on Saturday.  I'm not sure what we were laughing about but I love this candid shot.

WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING: 
I wrote all about what I was watching on my Friday Favorites last week--you can check it out here but I'm reading two things right now.  Completely different I might add! 

I just got done reading Clint Hill's 'Five Presidents' and it was amazing!  So I am now onto an early book of his 'Mrs. Kennedy and Me'.  I typically am not a history interested person but the Kennedy family fascinates me along with the workings of the Secret Service for our government. 

And Amy Schumer---does there really need to be an explanation?!?  I think she is hi-larious and I put her book on the same level of Chelsea Handler (who I think I would be best friends with in real life if I could just run into her one time).

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO:
My current favorite channel on Pandora is Laid Back Beach Music.  It is a smathering of reggae, rock, all things beachy.  I love it!

WHAT I'M WEARING:
Workout clothes and pajamas mostly.  Because I work out in the morning and work from home, I typically come home post workout and go straight into my office.  Therefore wearing my workout clothes most of the day before I take a shower and put on pj's for bed.  Not super exciting.  Most of my current clothes are too big because of my weight loss (good problem to have) but I'm about to transition my closet to Fall/Winter shortly.  Yeah for scarves and leggings!

WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND:
Outside of Carey Ann's wedding and after party (yippee), I actually don't have a lot planned, which is highly unusual going into the weekend.  But it makes me super happy! 
 
WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:
Marking things off my Fall Bucket List., ordering a new planner for 2017, one of my besties birthday, starting Sunday Dinner with my tribe, some planned work trips (working on Platinum status with Marriott for 2017), making lots and lots of soups and stews, pulling out all my Fall clothing, and planning my Christmas decorations (yes, you heard that right--my Christmas goes up 11/1).
 
WHAT ELSE IS NEW:
Everything (well at least to my readers) because it's been forever and I have so much to share.  Here's a sampling of what I'll be writing about coming soon.
  • Jenna's Wedding & Birthday
  • Tribe Lake Trip
  • Tribe Beach Vacay
  • Chicago Trip
  • Weight Loss
  • Pamela's Birthday
  • Children's Museum visit with my favorite kids ever
  • My Love Life (I know y'all are eagerly anticipating this one)
BONUS QUESTION--WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FALL FOOD?
Easy...soups, stews, chili--pretty much anything you can cook in a crockpot!  Comfort food at its finest!  I'm on the lookout for some low carb recipes so if you have any recommendations please send them my way.


OK gals--that's 'What's Up' with me this Wednesday!  Hope you have a super fantastic hump day!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Weekend Recap....Beers, Bras & Showers

Hey Girls-

Happy Monday!

Anybody else feeling like this today?!?

I had a super busy, fun filled weekend so now I need another couple days to rest :)  What did you guys get into? 

Friday night I was supposed to be going to the 'I Love the 90's' concert but in light of all the things that are currently going on in my city, the concert was cancelled.  Which actually turned out to be a good thing because I got to go to one of my favorite gals bachelorette party at a local brewery that I have been dying to try.

Carey Ann is one of my besties and seriously is one of the sweetest people I have ever met.  I met her at church when she started coming to the Life Group that I was hosting at my house.  She has a heart of gold, a super cute son and is getting married this coming Saturday to an amazing man named Curtis.  Oh and let me also mention that she is a freaking Crossfit powerhouse!  She and her soon to be husband run a Crossfit gym locally so if I am ever in a street fight, I hope she's part of my gang. 

Anywhoodle, Carey Ann's bachelorette party was held at Cabarrus Brewing Company which I was super psyched about.  When I started my weight loss journey back in April, I completely cut out beer because of the carbs and no, Michelob Ultra will not do for me--I'm a beer snob.  But because I've been doing so well and because I had worked out super hard that day, I figured I could indulge in a beer or two (and really that's all I had--pinky swear).  This place was amazing!  It was all open space, you can bring in your own food (they have food trucks if you don't), live music and the atmosphere was just great.  The best part was that we could dote on our girl for a Beers & Bras Bash! 
This is the gorgeous bride-to-be!  Seriously, I have the hottest friends ever!




So, funny story about this gal!  This is my sweet friend Courtney who I just adore!  Like totes adore!  She's that girl who will seriously speak the truth about everything--and I do mean everything!  I love having a friend who will tell you the truth even if you don't want to hear it.  Anyway, Court and I have been friends for about a year and a half and she said that you really aren't friends unless you have selfies together and claim one another---so we took a lot that night.  I am soooo blessed to have the girlfriends I do!
Oh, and my beer of choice for the night was the Vanilla Coffee Blonde.  It was amazing and literally smelled like a cup of coffee.  Hey, I said I was a snob!

Saturday, I was up early for a waxing appointment for my lady bits.  I may not shave my legs religiously but I try not to look like Chaka Khan downstairs.  OK, so yes probably TMI but we're all girlfriends here, right?

The rest of my day was spent going to 4 different grocery stores, placing bakery orders online, picking up tons of flowers from Trader Joe's (insert lovey eyes emoji), making Fall Sangria and getting my house ready for Carey Ann's bridal shower that my other bestie Jenna and I were throwing for her Sunday night.  I did take a wee bit of a sabbatical to go to my other bestie's house Pamela to get my mind off of life and watch a little football.  Who ever would have thought I would utter those words?
I love TJ's flowers!!!!
Oh but before I move on to Sunday, let me tell y'all about the greatest Fall Sangria I have ever had.  I'm not a huge Sangria fan, although I am a huge wine fan.  I've just never found one that was perfect for my palette.  Now after a few glasses of anything, everything is perfect for my palette, but y'all, this Sangria recipe is THE BEST I have ever had and it is perfect for this time of year. 

So, here's the recipe (I tripled it for the party):
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 honeycrisp apples, chopped
  • 1 orange, thinly slice
  • 1 (750ml) bottle red wine (I used a cheap Cabernet)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup brandy (I bought apple brandy)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Club Soda to taste (we poured this directly into the Sangria right before we served it to our guests but this is all personal preference)
Place the cinnamon sticks, apples, and orange slices in a large pitcher.  Add wine, apple cider, brandy, orange juice and lemon juice.  Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours (I let mine sit close to 24 hours).  Taste; if you'd like it to be sweeter, add 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar, honey or agave. 

If you want to get all fancy, you can Cinnamon Sugar rim all of your glasses which I think would be super cute and use a cinnamon stick as a garnish but I just ran out of time. 



And wouldn't you know that I didn't take not a single solitary picture of the final product but believe me girls, it was amazing and I will definitely be making it again. 

Another fun Fall recipe I made last year was for this yummy adult version of hot apple cider.  I haven't made it yet this Fall season (hey, we're less than a week in) but here's a quick snapshot of the recipe from Pinterest.  I usually make a crockpot full of it so that my friends can have it at their discretion.  So, so good!

Sunday was super busy as well, but so worth it to love on our girl even more with some other friends, drink Fall sangria, eat lots of cupcakes, tasty snacks, open presents, play games and love on our girl some more.

Jenna and I did a 'Cupcakes & Cocktails' theme and here was our menu:
  • Cupcakes (and lots of them).  Although I consider myself a fantastic baker, I had Publix do all the baking for me and it was perfect.  I also added specialty cupcakes in the form of Apple Pie, Caramel Iced Mocha, Chocolate Strawberry, Italian Wedding Cake and Lemon
  • Decadent brownie bites (again, thank you Publix)
  • Chocolate pound cake trifles with whipped topping and strawberries (I actually made this)
  • Petit Fours (yes, again thank you Publix but don't y'all love these little cakes)
  • Pumpkin spiced cookies
  • Pumpkin macaroons
  • Pumpkin cheese ball served with vanilla wafers
  • Fruit Salsa served with Cinnamon pita chips
  • Meatballs
  • Sausage wonton stars (y'all, so good and so easy--I bake them at every party)
  • Ham & Swiss cheese rolls
  • Zoe's Chicken Salad (best chicken salad ever) served with pita bread and cucumbers
  • Palmetto Cheese pimento cheese (best out there I think)
  • Crescent roll wrapped brie with raspberry jam, maple syrup and brown sugar
  • Veggies with ranch dip, dill veggie dip and spinach dip
  • Pineapple/Turkey Kielbasa bites in a teriyaki glaze
  • Boars Head Meat/Cheese Platter (yes, again, thank you Publix)
Here are a few of the photos.
Shameless selfie-I bought this dress from my favorite local boutique 2 years ago and have never been able to fit into it.  Yes, even two years ago when I bought it.  But yesterday it fit with extra room I might add!

Pic of the dessert buffet.  My sister made the banner.









Bride to Be with the hostesses with the mostesses :)


Gosh y'all, isn't she just gorgeous!!!!  OK, so my sister made this sign.  She is the craftiest person ever and the majority of my home décor has been made by her.  Carey Ann's favorite movie is 'Princess Bride' so I had my sister create the "Mawwiage..." speech.  It turned out perfect and Carey Ann loved it!  You can check out my sister's other creations on her IG page (smalltowngirldesign) or here for her Etsy shop.

It was such a fun shower and she got lots of great gifts but even more importantly, Carey Ann got to feel the love from everybody that was there to celebrate with her.

OK, gals that was my fun weekend!  I'm going to tell you to come back tomorrow but honestly, I have no idea what I'll be dishing about but I'm sure it will be good.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Favorites....Everybody's Working for the Weekend!

Hi Girls-

I just couldn't help myself when I was trying to pick out the perfect image for my Friday Favorites.  I loved, loved, loved me some Patrick Swayze and have probably seen Dirty Dancing 847,642 times.  Also, I used to go to Summer camp when I was little near where they filmed the movie and have swam in the same water where he and Baby did their infamous lift training scene.  So, that means Patrick and I have practically kissed. 

Also, Chris Farley was one of my favorite comedians and I think this SNL skit they did together was hilarious.  Personally, I like a little fluff on my men ;)

Happy Friday Gals!  I hope you've all had a super fantastic week and have all sorts of fun Fall things planned for the weekend!  Interestingly enough, I have found that as I've gotten older I am trying to fit in a lot more things during the week than just on the weekend.  It just goes by too darn fast!  So I've been trying to make a point to do all my housework, laundry, have dinner with the girls, see my sister, visit with friends, do my grocery shopping, etc. during the week so that I can truly relax and spend more time with the ones I really love on the weekends too.  Plus with my Fall Bucket List I posted about yesterday it will be essential for me to have my weekends free. 

Before I get into my Friday Favorites I want to take a minute to talk about what's going on in my city right now.  If you are new here I live in a small suburb right outside of Charlotte and unless you've been living under a rock, I'm certain you've seen all the chaos that has been ensuing this week.  I try to keep this blog lighthearted and I am not going to go into my specific thoughts but I ask that you pray for us.  Pray for the family of the man that was killed, pray for the police officers and their families, pray for the businesses that are being affected by the anger of rioters, pray for the rioters, pray for the protesters, pray for our elected officials and pray for our state.  We've had a lot of negative light shone upon us over the last several months and we are better than this.

OK, moving on to the fun stuff.  I am so excited to finally be linking up again with Andrea, Erika and Narci for my Friday Favorites.  So let's get into it...here are my favorites of the week.
  1. I'm going to write about these girls in more detail in a blog next week but this is my tribe.  If you follow me on Instagram (nc30grits), you know I post a lot of pictures with them in it.  But these gals are my favorite not only this week but all the time.  Find your Tribe, Love them Hard.  I am so blessed to have these lady friends in my life.
  2. Flap Jacked.  Y'all for reals...this company is amazeballs.  So since I started down the path of my weight loss journey (more on that to come but it's super high proten, low carb) I've been on the lookout for things that should be bad for me but aren't and this company fell right in my lap via IG.  Another gal I follow had posted about them and I, being hesitant at first because can protein baking mix be really that good, decided to order.  And I'm so glad I did!  First of all, the pancake mix can be used for a variety of things--think Bisquick.  For breakfast this morning, I added 2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin and some cinnamon to celebrate the arrival of Fall.  And their mighty muffins are delicious!  Like for shizzle!  Double Chocolate and Chocolate Peanut Butter are my favorite.  Check them out here.  I promise, you won't be disappointed.
  3. New TV shows.  Y'all---seriously, the line up for Fall TV is sooooo good.  And I hate even saying that because I don't want to be sitting in front of the TV all season but dang, they've really stepped up their game.  Here's a little bit of what I'll be watching this Fall.
    I've cut way back on my reality TV shows (at least until Southern Charm starts back up anyway) but Below Deck will always be a staple.  My hot lover chef Ben is back for Season 4 along with the very Kenny Roger-ish Captain Lee, the Chief Stew everybody loves to hate (although I adore) Kate and super hot Kelly (mmm, mmm good--yummy things apparently come out of Texas).  This season has been really good so far. 
    
    King of Queens is one of my favorite TV shows (I still watch reruns) and I love Kevin James.  Again, back to my attraction to fluffy men.  Anyways, this is his new show and it comes on Monday nights.  I liked it but I'm not real certain it will get renewed. 
    I've written about this show before on the blog but I love it!  And I watch reruns of it as well.  It was created by the writer of the show Roseanne (which I also adored).
    Did y'all watch this on Tuesday?  I have been looking forward to it since I saw the previews over the Summer and what an ending to the first episode!  Totally unexpected!
4.  Fall decorations.  You may be thinking, Jenny--you've already written about your Fall décor.  Well, friends, yes I know that.  But in preparing to write this blog, I started reading over my blogs from last year and found this post where I realized there was a whole other box of Fall decorations I have yet to open.  I found the signs but am now on the hunt for the pumpkins that I posted about.

OK gals, that's all I have for today!  I hope you have a fabulous weekend!  I am going to a Beers & Bras Bachelorette party and hosting a Bridal Shower---it's going to be a busy one.  Come back next week, I have lots of other stuff to catch y'all up on ;)